Bear Community

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Flag of the international bear community

As Bear Community ( English for "Bear Community"), the Community of the so-called will bear signified homosexual or bisexual adult men with hairy body (especially chest , abdomen and pubic hair ) and a distinctive beard . Sometimes female butches are also represented in the scene who are proud of their body hair. In addition, there is an overlap between bears and corpulent homo- or bisexuals, the so-called chubbies , which often leads to the misconceptionBear would be defined solely in terms of increased body weight.


Bear community members at the 2004 San Francisco Pride Parade
Jack Radcliffe during the Bear Bust 1999

The scene today summarized under the term Bear Community has different scene origins and did not originate in the USA. In the US, precursor found in the early 1970s in the networks of "chubby and chubby-chaser" (about: Fatty and Dick Hunter ). In Europe, especially after the so-called leather scene developed from the merger of homosexual motorcyclists into organizations in the 1970s , associations of men who preferred bearded and hairy men were formed. This is how the group "Beards meeting Beards" was born in London in the early 1980s.

Analogous to this, Michael Zgonjanin and Henning Marburger founded the group "Bartmänner Köln" in 1984, which today is one of the oldest existing bear groups in the world. What the initiators had in common was the idea of ​​creating a circle of friends for fans of hairy men that was not subject to the constraints of the leather and fetish scene - especially its sometimes strict codes such as fetish orientation and rigid club structures.

An important step in the development of the bear community was the establishment of Bear Magazine in San Francisco in 1987, which contributed to the familiarity of the name Bärenszene (Bear Community) and often leads to the assumption that the bear scene originated in the USA. BEAR magazine has also been published in German since 1996.

In Europe, the development continued with the establishment of Nederbears in Delft in 1988, Ebmc (EUROPEAN BEARS & BIG MEN'S CONVERGENCE) in Brussels in 1990, Girth & Mirth Germany (1991) in Berlin, Bartmänner Berlin (1992) and Bartmänner Frankfurt ( 1993) continued. Some of the initiatives disappeared again in the 1990s and emerged again later, mostly under the term Bear Group.

Bear Community Films

  • Men on Fur on Men , Martin Borden and Clark Niklolai, Canada, 2003, MiniDV
  • A Bear's Story , Vincent Mtzlpick, United States, 2003, video
  • Porn Proof , Chris Street, Canada, 2003, MiniDV
  • More Than Hair Care Products , Pendra Wilson, Canada, 2003, MiniDV
  • Hard Fat , Frederic Moffet, Canada, 2001, video
  • Lazy Bear 2002 , Greg Garcia, United States, 2002, DVD
  • Making of “A Bear's Story” , Village TV, United States, 2003, video
  • My Heart the Cook , Jerry McCadden and Clark Nikolai, Canada, 2001, MiniDV
  • 30 Bears in a Bathtub , filmed by Jonathan Robinson and features from the Manbears group in Manchester
  • Der Club der Bären , directed by Miguel Albaladejo, Spain 2004 (Spanish original title Cachorro , English title Bear Cub , French title Le Gamin ). The German DVD version is heavily shortened.
  • BearCity - a hairy romance , director: Douglas Langway, United States, 2010, (English original title BearCity - a hairy romance )
  • Where the Bears are , American mystery comedy starring four gay men

Bear Community Books

  • Chris Nelson's Original San Francisco Bear Magazine photographic collection, collected in The Bear Cult: Photographs by Chris Nelson (1992, ISBN 0-85449-161-9 ) by Gay Men's Press, London
  • Les K. Wright edited two anthologies, The Bear Book: Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture (1997, ISBN 1-56023-890-9 ) and The Bear Book 2 (2001, ISBN 1-56023-165-3 ), both from Haworth Press
  • Ray Kampf wrote The Bear Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Those Who Are Husky, Hairy and Homosexual, and Those Who Love 'Em (2000, ISBN 1-56023-997-2 ).
  • Ron Suresha wrote the anthology Bears on Bears: Interviews & Discussions ( ISBN 1-55583-578-3 ), 25 conversations with 57 bears and bear lovers worldwide, including interviews with comedian Bruce Vilanch , porn model Jack Radcliffe and survivor star Richard Hatch. Suresha wrote two anthologies, Bearotica: Hot, Hairy, Heavy Fiction (2002, ISBN 1-55583-577-5 ) and Bear Lust: Hot, Hairy, Heavy Fiction (2004, ISBN 1-55583-818-9 ), also published by Alyson Publications
  • Jonathan Cohen wrote the novel Bear Like Me ( ISBN 1-56023-418-0 ), Southern Tier Editions , in 2003
  • I'm a Believer by Jessica Adams ( ISBN 0-312-32107-4 ), (one of the main characters is a bear)
  • PJ Gray wrote a cookbook, More Bear Cookin ': Bigger and Better ( ISBN 1-56023-326-5 ) in 2005 , illustrated by Terry J; Followers of the book, Bear Cookin ': The Original Guide to Bear Comfort Foods by PJ Gray and Stanley Hunter: both published by Harrington Park Press
  • Wayne Hoffman's 2006 novel, Hard (the main character is a bear)
  • Jim Baker & Rainer Hörmann (eds.) The bear cult - the animal in a man , Querverlag; Edition: 1st (March 2004) ISBN 978-3-89656-102-2


  • A Bear's Life , 2005-2011, Magazine, Bear Brother's Enterprises Ltd. in the United States
  • BearParty Magazine 2007-2010, a free magazine in the United States
  • BOX , free magazine in Germany
  • BEAR , German magazine, since 1996.
  • Euro-BEAR , English version of the German edition, since 2004


  • In the song Oh Word? the Beastie Boys read two lines: I swear it wasn't me in Bear magazine, because I'm not that hairy .
  • In the American Dad episode American Dream Factory , Stan asks Patti LaBelle if she knew that "in gay society, a hairy man is also called a bear."
  • The song I have three hairs on my chest, I'm a bear by the heterosexual musician Bernd “Berniebärchen” Stelter is very popular in the Rhenish bear community , especially during carnival times.

Individual evidence

  1. GLBTQ: Bear Movement ( Memento from March 3, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  2. EBMC: Bear Movement ( Memento from February 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Bartmänner Köln: Bear Movement ( Memento from May 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  4. (link not available)
  5. film Homepage: Bear City
  6. A Bear's Life ( memento July 9, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) at

Web links

Commons : Bear Community  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files